Ipong! Game, from TouchTen.com, was created by a group of Indonesian teenagers with a noble purpose: To sell at least 14,285 copies of their game so they can donate up to $10.000 of proceeds to charity. The group says it hopes to reach its goal — minus Apple’s 30 percent share of sales — by the end of 2009.
I haven’t encountered any other developers in the App Store with such altruistic ambitions but it seems to me that using sales of apps to fund worthwhile causes is a terrific idea.
Unfortunately, I’d be surprised if Ipong! Game hits its top mark. It’s a so-so game in need of improvements to graphics and game play.
The point is to bounce a ping pong ball on a paddle as many times as you can. Hit the ball dead center on the paddle and the ball bounces straight up. Hit the ball on one side of the paddle and it will bounce in that direction.
The concept of Ipong! Game is more like one of those paddle games with the rubber string attached than ping pong because the gamer holds the paddle parallel to the ground and bounces the ball up and down, rather than side-to-side as you would with ping pong. Regardless, the ball’s physics aren’t as realistic as they need to be for an engaging game-playing experience.
Moving the paddle to keep the ball in motion is done by tilting your iPhone or iPod touch in a way to get the paddle under the ball as it falls. The paddle’s movement is not as responsive as I would hoped and I would have liked to have seen an option to adjust the motion control’s sensitivity..
The familiar ping-pong sound effect is off compared to the real thing. When you press start and there’s an obnoxious laugh, and when you miss, you’ll hear the same guffaw.
Finally, there’s no way to return to the main menu—although there’s not much there-other than by quitting the app.
The game is only $0.99 and the cause is worthy, but you should probably forego buying iPong! Game, at least until the developers lets us all know what charity it has in mind for the proceeds.